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Weekly Media Roundup

June 22, 2018 at 11:19 AM

Children's Ministry shifts away from putting kids in care

Children's Minister Tracey Martin is signalling a shift away from putting children into care, and towards intensive intervention in a child's home.

In the annual update on Oranga Tamariki to Parliament's Social Services Committee, Ms Martin said her vision was fewer children in state care.

"It's going to be controversial, but I believe it's true to say that we have more children in care than we need because we don't have enough intensive intervention services," she said.

Ms Martin said it's about about giving families and children better support.

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Oranga Tamariki apologises for TradeMe ad

Oranga Tamariki has apologised for what the National Party is calling the crass use of auction website TradeMe to find foster parents for children.

The child welfare agency advertised for a caregiver on the site.

One ad on the website described a young Whanganui schoolgirl who had had a tough start in life and needed a forever home.

It also gave her iwi affiliation and called her bright and loving with strong family values.

Ministry chief executive Grainne Moss said the ads were a mistake and said the guidelines will be reviewed.

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What separation from parents does to children: 'The effect is catastrophic'

This is what happens inside children when they are forcibly separated from their parents.

Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites - the little branches in brain cells that transmit messages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and - especially in young children - wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain.

"The effect is catastrophic," said Charles Nelson, pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School. "There's so much research on this that if people paid attention at all to the science, they would never do this."

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NZ 'punching above its weight' in child abuse, says policeman after 'barbaric' case

A particularly brutal case of child abuse has left a senior police officer lamenting New Zealand's failure to protect its children from the hands of adults.

Detective Inspector Colin Higson, of Counties Manukau Police, has told Newshub he's concerned there's a "constant hand wringing whenever there is a serious case, or a child homicide... and in between there is no significant difference."

His comments come in response to the sentencing of Auckland man Avi Prasad, who was jailed today for five years and eight months for the abuse of a young boy which the sentencing judge labelled "barbaric".

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Elder abuse in NZ expected to be more prevalent than figure of one in 10 older people

The Government is working to fix a gap in accurate data on elder abuse in New Zealand, with the rate believed to be higher than the latest known figure of one in 10 people aged 65 and over.

It’s launched an awareness video, financial abuse information guide and undercover crossword initiative in a bid to grow awareness in older people and get them to speak up.

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Financial abuse of elderly 'rampant' in New Zealand with drug-use part of the problem

An elderly Wellington man who suffered psychological and financial abuse at the hands of his adult son has come out the other side, thanks, in part, to neighbourly intervention.

For months, John*, 68, was subject to a myriad abuse at the hands of his 41-year-old son David* who had been deported from Australia following a prison stint for domestic violence.

The problems escalated as David's use of methamphetamine (P) increased and John became fearful of his son's moods and scared of the screaming and acts of violence that followed.

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Lizzie Marvelly: Prevention better than prison for young felons

A number of Kiwi kids aren't so fortunate. For them, coming from backgrounds often riddled with neglect, struggle, poverty and/or abuse, childhood acting up can become something more serious.

And then, all of a sudden, they wind up in prison, following the road that was paved for them over years of systemic failure. Each step along that road represents a stage at which someone should've intervened and didn't.

Or, to put it bluntly, another $100,000 or so of the Corrections budget that could've been saved.

A report released this week by the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor basically said as much. Our approach to young offenders isn't working, and in order to turn our prison statistics around, we need to adopt a preventative model.

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Son who killed his father urges families suffering from domestic violence to seek help

A young man acquitted of murdering his abusive father following a high profile trial is now urging children stuck in violent homes to seek help. 

His pleas have been backed by the police officer in charge of the case who, in a rare move, has spoken out saying the not guilty verdict was just. 

The man, who has name suppression, stabbed his father to death at an Auckland address last year during an argument.

It took a High Court jury less than four hours to acquit him of both murder and manslaughter, last week finding he had acted in self defence. 

Speaking exclusively to Stuff, the young man is urging other children of abusive parents to seek help. 

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'Like Once Were Warriors': How years of brutality ended in a young man's murder acquittal

It's late in the afternoon when the phone rings through the cells of the High Court at Auckland.

It was the court registrar. Four storeys above, the jury had reached its verdict.

For almost a month they listened to how, on a summer's evening last year, a son stabbed his father to death. 

Prior to those six stab wounds, that father had inflicted a lifetime of abuse on his son and family.

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Exclusive: West Auckland children lived 'like caged animals' in 'despicable and sickening' neglect case

WARNING: This story contains graphic information about child abuse and neglect that could be upsetting or triggering. Please take care.

A West Auckland couple have been jailed for keeping their children "like caged animals" in a case of abuse and neglect described by a judge as "despicable and sickening".

The children aged 9, 3 and 1 were barely fed or washed for almost a year, forced to stay in their rooms under threat of violence and lived in squalor amid piles of food scraps, soiled nappies and general household rubbish so high that beds and windows were hidden.

Both parents were heavy methamphetamine users and the court heard that the mother was seriously abused by her partner and was effectively too battered by him to look after the children.

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Effects of family violence on children shape nation's future

Family violence can be physical or psychological. Both leave lifelong scars in the mind and heart of children, writes Averil Pierce.

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‘Stay safe’: the enraging advice for women to steer clear of violent men

The rape and murder of Melbourne woman Eurydice Dixon has reignited the conversation about women’s role in protecting themselves from stranger danger. Criminologist Bianca Fileborn explains the problem with ‘stay safe’ advice.

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Former CYF runaways back with whānau

After nearly three years as wards of the state, Oranga Tamariki's custody orders for Temorehu and Anahera McLean have been discharged and their cases have been closed.

While it's cause for celebration, their mother Te Awhina McLean said the struggle to have them signed back into whānau care was painful.

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Nina Funnell: Everyday steps women take that would shock men

Imagine if every time a school shooting happened, police advised all parents to homeschool their children instead?

Or if after the Martin Place massacre, police advised all workers to work from home offices and avoid cafes?

In such cases, authorities implicitly understand that these responses would be deeply unhelpful and not an effective solution, reports

Yet almost every single time a woman is raped and murdered the police response is to tell women — not perpetrators — to modify their behaviour.

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Revealed: New Zealand regions with the most alcohol deaths

The New Zealand regions with the most alcohol deaths have been revealed - and the toll of human suffering grows each week.

The most recent figures, collected in 2015, show 180 people died as a result of their alcohol abuse.

A map by district health board (DHB) shows no region has escaped unscathed. Canterbury was worst affected, with 23 deaths, followed by Waitemata and Auckland.

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Rotorua youth crime a 'run-away train'

Rotorua police are calling for early intervention as they see younger and younger children taking part in serious crime.

In recent weeks Rotorua youth have been at the centre of aggravated robberies, car thefts, shoplifting and ram raids - becoming the highest priority target for local police.

The pleas for earlier intervention come as a new report on tackling youth crime highlights the importance of tackling the issues early on in childhood.

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Jury delivers guilty verdict in case of Turangi infant murdered by father

The father accused of killing his nine-month-old daughter has been found guilty of her murder.

A jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict against Donovan Michael Duff just after 4pm on Tuesday after around four hours of deliberations. 

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Family violence charge against prominent Kiwi entertainer

A prominent New Zealand entertainer has appeared in court following an alleged family violence incident.

The man, who has interim name suppression, is charged with injuring with intent yesterday. The alleged victim is a woman.

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Man to be deported for being overstayer

An English resident here since December 2011 will be deported for being an overstayer after appearing in court for assaulting his long-term partner.

Jude aka Warrick Paul Sullivan, 53, appeared in front of Judge Allan Roberts in Gisborne District Court this week.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting a female, arising out of an argument with his de facto partner of 15 years.

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Online child abuse and revenge porn, growing issues in Pacific

Relatively new phenomena like online child abuse and revenge porn are increasingly becoming issues in the Pacific, according to Tonga's Acting Attorney General. 

'Aminiasi Kefu and the Pacific Island Law Officers' Network hosted a cyber crime workshop last week where combating online child abuse was a key focus.

Mr Kefu told Koro Vaka'uta the issue requires urgent attention.

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Teen jailed for raping a sex worker and fracturing her face

A teenager who raped a sex worker, has been jailed for 12 years and six months  for that and other crimes.

Shane Maru had just turned 18 when he went to see the woman for paid oral sex but he went on to have intercourse without her consent, and punched her repeatedly, fracturing her eye socket and jaw.

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Victim of Kāpiti councillor David Scott says she's been ridiculed since indecent assault

The woman indecently assaulted by Kāpiti Coast district councillor David Scott says she has been subject to "victim-shaming" since coming forward about the incident.

Scott, 71, was convicted and fined $1500 on Tuesday. It was alleged he thrust his genitals against a staff member at a morning tea last year. He pleaded not guilty, but a Wellington District Court jury found him guilty in May.

The victim, whose name is suppressed, told Stuff she had faced ridicule from Scott's supporters since the incident, with some leaving female mannequins outside council offices covered in signs that read: "Council PC over the top" and "Do you like my outfit?".

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School rugby coach charged with further counts of sexual abuse, bringing total to 83

Fresh charges of sexual abuse have been levelled at an Auckland school rugby coach.

Alosio Taimo, a long-time school volunteer and member of the Samoan church community, was charged in 2017 with dozens of counts of sexual abuse against young people.

He appeared in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday for a callover, where the court heard Taimo was facing two more charges.

That brought the total number of complainants to 18.

In all, Taimo is facing 83 charges of sexual abuse.

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Category: News Media